A lot of people woke up today wondering who won the 2019 Polaris Music Prize. And when they saw the name of the winner, some may have gone “who?”
Haviah Mighty, the rapper from Brampton, took home the big prize of $50,000 cash for her 13th Floor album. She beat out nine other shortlisted artists.
This is the WTF-ness beauty of Polaris. If you follow the event, you can’t help be exposed to music that you’d maybe never otherwise discover. And don’t we all want to learn about new quality music?
Music wonks from across the country (including me) nominate and vote on the merits of more than 200 Canadian albums. There’s a vote. And another. And finally, everything gets turned over the Grand Jury of eleven people to declare a winner as everyone else is eating and drinking at the Gala event.
The goal is to find the best Canadian album of the last 12 months regardless of genre or commercial success. In other words, it’s all about the art. And art is a highly subjective thing.
I’ll admit that I’d never heard of Haviah Mighty and her 13th Floor album before this whole process began. Then again, I’m not familiar with much of the Canadian hip-hop scene. (Totally my bad, too. She was named one of XXL’s “15 Toronto Rappers You Should Know.”)
The Polaris Music Prize has gained a reputation of being one of the most diverse music awards on the planet. Just look who else made the Short List this year.
Marie Davidson – Working Class Woman
Elisapie – The Ballad of the Runaway Girl
FET.NAT – Le Mal
Dominique Fils-Aimé – Stay Tuned!
Les Louanges – La nuit est une panthère
PUP – Morbid Stuff
Jessie Reyez – Being Human In Public
Shad – A Short Story About A War
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Trapline
Those folks above don’t go home empty-handed. Each received a cheque for $3,000.